Published: November 19 2015.
EDF Energy has played-down safety concerns after cracks were found in brickwork around the core of the nuclear reactor at the Hunterston ‘B’ site.
The French-owned company said such cracks were “predictable” due to the age of the reactor and that there are “no safety implications”.
However, Lang Banks, Director of the World Wildlife Fund, pointed-out the latest development meant cracks had now been found around both of the Hunterston reactors. Mr Banks said, “It's clear the problem is spreading and that we can expect this facility to become even more unreliable in the future.”
The anti-nuclear campaigner added, “News of more cracks in the country's ageing fleet of nuclear power stations underscores why we're right to be taking steps to harness cleaner, safer forms of energy.”
Fergus Ewing MSP, the SNP Scottish Government’s Energy Minister, commented, “The reactor operator has provided assurances that there are no immediate safety implications affecting Hunterston ‘B’, and that it is safe to continue generating electricity.
“At the same time, this development does illustrate that Scotland's nuclear facilities have a limited lifespan and we need to put in place longer term energy alternatives.
“Just yesterday the UK Government recognised, belatedly, that its policies have weakened energy security and pushed up bills, but they continue to miss opportunities to put in place new plans to address the gaps in UK energy policy, with few, if any, new actual incentives to drive energy generation.
“Their policy is inconsistent in terms of getting the best deal for bill payers, incoherent in terms of reducing carbon emissions and is proving ineffectual in terms of ensuring security of supply.”
Colin Weir, EDF’s Station Director at Hunterson ‘B’, said, “Nuclear safety drives everything we do. This means we work within very large safety margins. The level of cracking, which is considered reasonable, is far below anything which would affect the reactor's safe operation.”